Moana Live-Action Movie Release, Cast & Everything We Know

By Savannah Sanders Posted:
Dwayne Johnson, Moana, Auli'i Cravalho, Moana logo

Disney is currently developing a live-action remake of 2016's Moana, but who's been cast in the upcoming film and when should fans expect its theatrical debut?

Despite Moana being one of Walt Disney Animation's more recent movies, Disney confirmed a live-action "reimagining" was in the works in April 2023 with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson reprising his role as Maui. 

News of Johnson's involvement, coupled with the 2016 movie's sustained popularity and composer Lin-Manuel Miranda's Billboard-topping soundtrack, piqued fan interest upon its reveal. But with little to no news in the months since, here's everything we know about Disney's live-action Moana.  

When Is Disney's Live-Action Moana Releasing in Theaters?

Auli'i Cravalho, Moana, Maui, Dwayne Johnson

Weeks after Disney announced a live-action Moana was in the works, the film received a June 27, 2025 release date. 

But that was before the SAG-AFTRA strike, which delayed casting for the remake and raised the question of whether the film would ultimately be pushed back. 

Fortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case. 

Not only did Dwayne Johnson maintain the live-action adaptation's June 2025 debut when he appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in November 2023, but he also revealed via People that the "next project that [he] will be shooting is a live-action version of Moana,” suggesting that the movie was still on track. 

Therefore, for the time being, it sounds like fans can safely expect Disney's Moana remake on June 27, 2025, following the release of Greta Gerwig and Rachel Zegler's live-action Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on March 21. 

Who's Cast in Disney's Live-Action Moana?

Dwayne Johnson, Moana, Maui

While Dwayne Johnson has the rare distinction of playing Maui both in live-action and animation, Moana's voice actress Auliʻi Cravalho announced she "will not be reprising the role." Instead, she will serve as an executive producer and ensure "the cast accurately represents the characters and stories [they] want to tell."

Cravalho also noted how honored she will be to "pass this baton to the next young woman of Pacific Island descent" and looks forward "to all the beautiful Pacific representation to come."

For reference, Boba Fett star Temuera Morrison voiced Moana's father, Tui, in the 2016 film while The Pussycat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger voiced Moana's mother. 

In addition, Jermaine Clement played the shiny coconut crab Tatamota, Alan Tudyk provided the sound effects for Hei-Hei, and Rachel House voiced Moana's grandmother, Gramma Tala. 

Disney hasn't confirmed whether any of these stars would be reprising their roles. However, casting calls were announced and then delayed until November 8, 2023, due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. 

Currently, no official cast announcements have been made apart from Dwayne Johnson.  

Is Disney's Live-Action Moana a Sequel?

Moana in Moana

Disney's "reimagining" of Moana is expected to follow the same story as the animated film with original writer Jared Bush returning to write the script. 

Still, that's not to say that Moana 2 isn't a possibility or already part of the plan. 

In January 2022, Disney confirmed a Moana sequel series was in the works for Disney+. Whether those plans were scrapped in favor of the remake was rumored but remains unknown. 

As for Moana's future, the big question is how certain elements of the animated film will translate into live-action, such as the ocean's interactions with Moana and Maui's demigod abilities, and whether the 2025 film intends to make changes. 

Will Zendaya Play Moana in Live Action?

Zendaya as MJ in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Moana

While Disney has yet to announce who will play Moana in live-action, viral fan-made trailers featuring Zendaya as Moana have led to considerable fan speculation.

Granted, Zendaya would absolutely add to the 2025 film's star power. But it's highly unlikely that Disney is considering the Dune: Part Two star for the role. 

Not only is Zendaya much older than the teenaged Moana at 27 years old, but, just as Auli'i Cravalho expressed, Disney is looking to cast an actress of "Pacific Island descent." Zendaya is of Black, German, and Scottish descent.

When Will the Trailer for Moana's Live-Action Movie Release?

Moana in Moana

Historically, theatrically released live-action Disney remakes, such as Aladdin, The Lion King, and, most recently, The Little Mermaid, received their first trailers seven to eight months before their premieres. 

If Disney intends for Moana to keep its June 2025 release date, fans shouldn't expect the remake's first trailer until fall 2024 or even later this year. 

The original animated Moana is streaming now on Disney+.

- In This Article: Moana
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- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.